18 January 1934
8 December 2010 (aged 76)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 19y 90d
Last game: 29y 232d
Height and weight
Height: 175 cm
Weight: 81 kg
Michael James (Son)
|Club||League||Career span||Games||Goals||Avg||Win %||AKI||AHB||AMK||BV|
Pre 1965 stats are for selected matches only
Winner of the VFL's top individual award, the Brownlow Medal, in 1961 while playing mainly as a half back flanker, Carlton's John James was invariably the first man the coach called upon to fill in if the team was breaking down in a certain position. During his 11-season, 195-game career with the Blues he played, at some point, in virtually every position on the ground with the exception of ruckman.
Initially recruited from Ballarat as a forward, he ended his debut season of 1953 with the rankly inglorious tally of eight goals and 43 behinds to his name, and the disbelieving groans of the Princes Park faithful still ringing in his ears.
When playing in the backlines, James was sometimes criticised for 'taking risks', but his superb judgement meant that he was actually a prototype of the more modern, re-bound style of half back or back pocket. For James, there was nothing calculatedly tactical about his style; he was simply playing his natural game, just as he had done from his time as a schoolboy at the renowned football nursery of St Patrick's College, Ballarat.
John James' importance to Carlton was emphasised with best and fairest wins in 1955, 1960 and 1961 making him, somewhat surprisingly, the first player to win the award on three occasions.
Author - John Devaney